Transforming Schools for Language Learners: The Push-in Model

Transforming learning for ELLs

Do you have students struggling with Language Arts?

Failure to read proficiently and independently by fourth grade can hinder student progress seriously. If your students cannot read properly, they would fail to comprehend the grade-level material. Most of them would end-up juggling between the basics-of-reading and the advanced grade-level material. Schools utilize various models of teaching to support these struggling students. One such model is the push-in model of instruction.

 

The Push-in Model

A Push-in setting refers to the method of teaching in which two teachers – a reading specialist and the classroom teacher – serve all students through co-teaching. Generally, struggling students aren’t ‘pulled-out’; they learn with regular students. The reading specialist integrates his practices with that of the classroom teacher, and together they try to meet the needs of the class. This reading specialist, or the co-teacher, works with the classroom teacher through collaborative lesson planning, modeling, co-teaching, and managing the feedback. The emphasis is on providing equal learning opportunities to all students. The classroom instruction is provided in such a way that all students can get the concepts.

The reading-specialist, or the co-teacher, works with the classroom teacher to help improve the basic classroom instruction and provide in-class intervention to all students. The two teachers work with the class, and help everyone gain from the grade-level classroom instruction. As and when required, they work separately with the struggling students – within the classroom – to address their weaknesses. In essence, the co-teacher helps the classroom teachers utilize the classroom instruction to drive the everyday instruction and use it to provide remediation too.

 

How the push-in model works

The push-in model, in effect, reduces the student-teacher ratio. This allows the (two) teachers to create smaller groups and increases the amount of one-to-one teacher-student interactions.  Moreover, it allows the two teachers to harmonizing their individual instruction programs, which again benefits the classroom.

There’s an important constraint too. The push-in model requires extensive collaboration between the two teachers- they must collaborate over various planning, teaching, assessments and feedback activities. Such collaboration is difficult. The classroom teacher has to teach the content, while the reading-specialist needs to attend to the development of English skills.

 

Do the push-in models really work

The two teachers need to harmonize their instruction programs, and develop a positive attitude towards co-teaching.

Howsoever, the push-in model causes a radical focal shift. It does away with the pull-out models that cause social stigma to at-risk students. The push-in model scores over the traditional after-school programs too, as they reduce the pressure that the struggling students feel because of attending remedial services. Moreover, such programs can accelerate learning, and reduce the need for intervention and targeted instruction programs.

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